1:15 PM: Suspended San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and his wife Eliana Lopez responded sharply today to the release of a video in which a crying Lopez shows a bruise her husband allegedly left on her arm.

The 45-second video, released to the public following a May 15 public records act request by the San Francisco Chronicle, shows Lopez pointing to a bruise on her right arm and saying it was caused by Mirkarimi.

Fighting back tears, she said in the video that her husband had told her he is powerful and had threatened to take custody of the couple’s young son.

“I’m going to use this in case he wants to take Theo away from me,” Lopez said.

The video was recorded by a neighbor, Ivory Madison, on Jan. 1, the day after Mirkarimi grabbed Lopez during an argument. Police obtained the video via a search warrant after Madison called police on Jan. 4 to report the incident.

It had never been aired publicly before today, but was the key piece of evidence in the criminal case against Mirkarimi and will likely be used in his upcoming administrative hearing on official misconduct charges, for which he was suspended without pay by Mayor Ed Lee.
The attorneys for Mirkarimi and Lopez fought to have the video barred from public view, but San Francisco Superior Court Judge Garrett Wong denied their request at a May 15 hearing and the state Court of Appeal two days later upheld that decision.

Lopez released a statement today, saying she is “sad and hurt” by those who allowed the video’s release. She specifically named Lee, Wong, City Attorney Dennis Herrera and District Attorney George Gascon.

“Because of their actions, the images on that video will exist forever for anyone to see–including my son Theo, now and for ever,” she said. “My grandchildren will see the video, as well as my great grandchildren.”

Lopez said releasing the video “is far worse than anything they accuse Ross of doing. I hope they realize after reflection that what they have done is irreparable and perpetually damaging to me and my family.”

Mirkarimi also issued a statement today, saying the release of the video “utterly violates my wife’s rights and serves no public good. It is the politics of destruction at its worst, and those who advocated its release should be ashamed.”

Mirkarimi pleaded guilty in March to a misdemeanor false imprisonment charge in connection with the Dec. 31 incident with his wife.

He was sentenced to three years’ probation and other penalties and was subsequently suspended by Lee. He is awaiting a hearing on the official misconduct charges before the city’s Ethics Commission.

The commission will then make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on whether to uphold the charges and remove Mirkarimi from office or reinstate him as sheriff. Nine of the 11 supervisors would have to uphold the charges to remove Mirkarimi, who served on the board for seven years before being elected sheriff last November.

The mayor spoke to reporters briefly about the video’s release at City Hall this morning.
“All the evidence has to be weighed,” Lee said. “We’re seeking as much transparency as possible because the Ethics Commission demands it.”

He said, “I want everything to be released to them so they have that basis to make a decision.”

Lee admitted that he had not yet watched the video, saying, “I haven’t felt the necessity to do that,” but added that he would probably view it before testifying at the Ethics Commission hearing.

Lee is one of several people, including Mirkarimi, Lopez and Madison, who are expected to testify before the Ethics Commission, which will next take up the case on June 19.

12 PM: A video of the wife of suspended San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi crying and showing a bruise he allegedly caused was released by the city attorney’s office today.

The 45-second video, released to the public following a May 15 records request by the San Francisco Chronicle, shows Eliana Lopez pointing to a bruise on her right arm and saying it was caused by Mirkarimi.

“This happened yesterday,” Lopez said.

Fighting back tears, she said in the video that her husband had told her he is powerful and had threatened to take custody of the couple’s young son.

“I’m going to use this in case he wants to take Theo away from me,” Lopez said.

The video was recorded by a neighbor, Ivory Madison, on Jan. 1, the day after Mirkarimi grabbed her during an argument. Police obtained the video via a search warrant after Madison called police on Jan. 4 to report the incident.

It was the central piece of evidence in the criminal case against Mirkarimi, who pleaded guilty in March to a misdemeanor false imprisonment charge.

He was sentenced to three years’ probation and other penalties and was subsequently suspended without pay by Mayor Ed Lee on official misconduct charges.

Mirkarimi is awaiting a hearing on the administrative charges before the city’s Ethics Commission, which will then make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on whether to uphold the charges and remove him from office.

The attorneys for Mirkarimi and Lopez fought to have the video barred from public view at the Ethics Commission, but a San Francisco Superior Court judge denied their request on May 15, and the state Court of Appeal two days later upheld that decision.

Paula Canny, Lopez’s attorney, said after the May 15 hearing that the city’s effort to use the video in Mirkarimi’s suspension hearing would serve to further humiliate her client.

“They don’t want to protect Eliana, they don’t want to protect her rights,” Canny said.

“They’re so out of their minds to get Ross Mirkarimi that they don’t care who they step on.”

The suspension proceedings will continue before the Ethics Commission on June 19.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

Want more news, sent to your inbox every day? Then how about subscribing to our email newsletter? Here’s why we think you should. Come on, give it a try.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!
  • Soonerdiver

    Are you, Mr. Mirkarimi, equally ashamed for putting your wife into the position she had to have the video made? That video is evidence of a crime committed by a ‘law enforcement officer’ and needs to see the light of day.

    You should have thought of the ramifications on your wife, son, grand and great grand children; but you thought yourself above the law and didn’t think your wife would do such a thing. Surprise! And bye bye!!

  • Soonerdiver

    Are you, Mr. Mirkarimi, equally ashamed for putting your wife into the position she had to have the video made? That video is evidence of a crime committed by a ‘law enforcement officer’ and needs to see the light of day.

    You should have thought of the ramifications on your wife, son, grand and great grand children; but you thought yourself above the law and didn’t think your wife would do such a thing. Surprise! And bye bye!!

  • jccourt

    A DAY OF INFAMY FOR SAN FRANCISCO.

    “The Chronicle obtained the video through a public records request after courts and the city???s Ethics Commission refused to order it kept from public view.”

    Well done, pretending to protect Eliana Lopez you release that mistake of a video. Shame on all of you, and especially those, the courts, the so called ethics commission, and the Chronicle newspaper.

    Eliana Lopez has been abused by this city by the release of this video against her wishes to the media, abuse much worse than some arm grabbing. Thanks.

  • jccourt

    A DAY OF INFAMY FOR SAN FRANCISCO.

    “The Chronicle obtained the video through a public records request after courts and the city???s Ethics Commission refused to order it kept from public view.”

    Well done, pretending to protect Eliana Lopez you release that mistake of a video. Shame on all of you, and especially those, the courts, the so called ethics commission, and the Chronicle newspaper.

    Eliana Lopez has been abused by this city by the release of this video against her wishes to the media, abuse much worse than some arm grabbing. Thanks.

  • jccourt

    A DAY OF INFAMY FOR SAN FRANCISCO.

    “The Chronicle obtained the video through a public records request after courts and the city???s Ethics Commission refused to order it kept from public view.”

    Well done, pretending to protect Eliana Lopez you release that mistake of a video. Shame on all of you, and especially those, the courts, the so called ethics commission, and the Chronicle newspaper.

    Eliana Lopez has been abused by this city by the release of this video against her wishes to the media, abuse much worse than some arm grabbing. Thanks.

  • jccourt

    A DAY OF INFAMY FOR SAN FRANCISCO.

    “The Chronicle obtained the video through a public records request after courts and the city???s Ethics Commission refused to order it kept from public view.”

    Well done, pretending to protect Eliana Lopez you release that mistake of a video. Shame on all of you, and especially those, the courts, the so called ethics commission, and the Chronicle newspaper.

    Eliana Lopez has been abused by this city by the release of this video against her wishes to the media, abuse much worse than some arm grabbing. Thanks.

  • jccourt

    @soonerdiver you say: “Are you, Mr. Mirkarimi, equally ashamed for putting your wife into the position she had to have the video made?”

    The video was the result of a shenanigan orchestrated by the neighbor, if the wife felt threaten (and she wasn’t). All that she had to do was to call the authorities. (she DID NOT)

    The mayor, the city attorney, the Ethics commission, and the courts, are the ones who had the power to decide what to do with that video, They choose to have it released to the media. They are responsible. Thanks.

  • jccourt

    @soonerdiver you say: “Are you, Mr. Mirkarimi, equally ashamed for putting your wife into the position she had to have the video made?”

    The video was the result of a shenanigan orchestrated by the neighbor, if the wife felt threaten (and she wasn’t). All that she had to do was to call the authorities. (she DID NOT)

    The mayor, the city attorney, the Ethics commission, and the courts, are the ones who had the power to decide what to do with that video, They choose to have it released to the media. They are responsible. Thanks.